Self-Directed Support

What is self-directed support?

Self-directed support (SDS) allows people to choose how their support is provided to them by giving them as much ongoing control as they want over the individual budget spent on their support.

In other words, SDS is the support a person purchases or arranges to meet agreed health and social care outcomes.

SDS includes a number of options for getting support. The person’s individual budget can be:

  • taken as a Direct Payment (a cash payment)
  • allocated to a provider the person chooses (sometimes called an individual service fund, where the council holds the budget but the person is in charge of how it is spent)
  • or the council can arrange a service for the supported person
  • or the supported person can choose a mix of these options for different types of support.


What can you use SDS for?

Self-Directed Support can be used in many ways. You can get support to live in your own home, such as help with having a bath or getting washed and dressed.

Out of the home it could support you to college, to continue in employment or take a job, or to enjoy leisure pursuits more. Instead of relying on the activities run at a day centre, you might arrange for a personal assistant (PA) to help you attend local classes, go swimming, or be a volunteer helping others. It could also be used to provide a short break (respite) or for equipment and temporary adaptations.

You can choose whether you would prefer to get support from a service provider such as a voluntary organisation or care agency, or by employing PAs, or a combination of both.